(When it is the bench of new team members)
You will hopefully forgive me for the “play on words” with this title but I am not talking about a chiropractic adjusting bench or table, I am speaking about a “bench” of players. Every great sports team I have ever played on or been a part of has a group of starters and then the “bench”, and if I have my way we are going to see much more of this in the business community as well.
In a sports analogy the bench is there in the short term to support the starters if they are having an off game. They are ready to be put into the game if the starters are sick, hurt or unable to play for any reason. In the long term, the bench players are there to develop both their skills and experience so they can eventually become a “starter.” It is a tried and true system that works well in almost every group sport activity in the world and it works well in business as well.
The starting point for this concept is in the entrepreneur’s consciousness. Most entrepreneurs I have coached and consulted over the last 18 years don’t tend to look any further then the tip of their nose when it comes to planning. They hire based on need and need is often defined by what is right in front of them at that time. If the team they have is working (and in most cases that has never been defined ) they never think about their long term needs until somebody gets hurt or quits. Then they need to go out and “hire” somebody to fill the space immediately.
The evolution of the hiring process is the concept of recruiting. Recruiting is where you have done your homework about the psychographics and/or demographics of who you desire to have on your team and you go out and actively look for them on an ongoing basis. In fact you NEVER stop recruiting because you might find talent at a take out restaurant, dentist office or tire sales counter. If you aren’t aware that you are looking then great talent will just slip right past your radar screen. If you have your outcomes assessment for every position on your team done up then it is easy to know what sort of skills, besides the demo and psychographics, you are looking for.
Once you have the criteria outlined finding talent becomes easier. Once you find someone you can simply ask them if their current position is ultimately fulfilling their long term career needs. Usually people have told me it is not, so it is an easy step to ask them if they have ever considered a career in your industry. Commonly the answer is no they have not, which brings up the possibility of buying them lunch or a cup of coffee and telling them about your mission and/or vision for your business. Since this is such a rare concept in our current society, the response is almost always positive.
Once they have passed that introductory luncheon or cup of coffee I like to get them to send in a resume and come and meet the team where we do an informal interview to see if they fit our values and culture. If they do then we ask permission to keep their resume on file so that as soon as something opens up we can contact them.
In my chiropractic practice many of the 6 to 10 names I kept on file were never actually hired but they were on my bench and it gave me ….. and therefore my clients …… the peace of mind that our service would never be interrupted and we would always have top level service available to offer our community.
There is a more formal recruiting process I will share with you on another blog post another time but for now please go and start to build your bench. You and your clients deserve it.
PS – Think about the message of peak performance you are also sending out to your starters when you have a bench. We love and support you as team members but we also have people who are ready, willing and able to step in and “play” for you if you choose to not bring your A game consistently to the office, or you decide it is time to move onto other things. This inspires everyone to be part of the mission and exude the values of the company at all times.
PSS. Zappos (one of the most successful online stores) has a huge team with a large list of next hires, and will instantly fire an employee when they don’t mesh with the company values. Service and fulfillment of the mission is never interrupted because of this strategy.
We are running a live event winter 2015 about building and training your dream team
If you need help stacking your bench with A players, and training your team to be inspired leaders of your company mission, we have a training program dedicated to you.
Book a call to find out if it’s a fit: